Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Delta Lloyd Regatta : Australian sailors win five medals on final day of Sailing World Cup

Tom Slingsby wins Gold in the Laser at Delta Lloyd Regatta. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/

by Craig Heydon

Australian sailors have won five medals on the final day of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Holland, capping off a successful week of racing.

Sunday’s medal haul included a Gold medal in the Laser class for Tom Slingsby, Silvers for 49er crew Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen and RS:X sailor Jessica Crisp, and Bronze medals for Brendan Casey in the Finn and Allison Shreeve in the RS:X.

The five medals followed Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page’s Gold medal on Saturday evening in the 470 class.

Slingsby’s win made it back-to-back Gold medals in Holland for the reigning ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, with his third position in the final 10 boat medal race giving him a 16 point victory over Bruno Fontes of Brazil.

“Holland’s been a good place for me, it’s windy and wavy and very similar to Weymouth,” said Slingsby. “If I can do well in conditions like this it proves to the other guys that I’m a contender next year, and I’m always happy to do that.”

The triple World Champion had a consistent week on the water, finishing in the top 10 in every race, including six race victories.

“I was sailing quite a low risk strategy all week, had good speed and knew I was fast in the wind so I didn’t have to take much risk, luckily the consistency was there and the results came my way.

Aussie sailor Tom Slingsby during the medal race. Image copyright Margje Tempelaars.

“Winning here means I’ve qualified to be nominated for the Australian Olympic team,” said Slingsby. “It’s good to finally get it done, it’s up to the other Australians to try and get another qualifier on the board and catch me.”

Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen went into the 49er medal race second overall, eight points behind the leading crew of Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes of Great Britain and nine ahead of New Zealanders Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.

The Australian pair pushed their competition all the way in the gusty conditions and came close to snatching the Gold medal, but in the end was only able to put one boat between themselves and the Brits.

“It was quite an eventful medal race,” said Outteridge. “We had to be mindful of where the Kiwis were throughout the race and at the same time were trying to sail the Brits back through the fleet and then take opportunities to move up ourselves.

“The Kiwis capsized while in the lead but then we were only able to get two spots up on the Brits at the end but it was quite an enjoyable race,” he said.

Outteridge said that himself and Jensen enjoyed the one-on-one duel with Morrison and Rhodes which dominated much of the race.

“They knew what was coming and both of us were prepared for a bit of a fight,” he said. “Once the Kiwis capsized it was all on, we didn’t quite get the result today but hopefully next time around it’s us in the lead defending in the medal race.”

Jessica Crisp started the final day of racing third overall, well within reach of the two leading sailors and just one place ahead of fellow Australian Allison Shreeve.

The three-time Olympian had a strong medal race, crossing the line behind the overall winner, Li Ling of China, to win the Silver medal, with Shreeve finishing with Bronze.

Gold Coast sailor Brendan Casey picked up his first medal of this year’s ISAF Sailing World Cup with Bronze in the Finn fleet.

“It was a bit of a relief to hold onto the Bronze medal,” said Casey. “I actually had a capsize on the second downwind which put the pressure on me, I ended up finishing 10th and my competitor in fourth had to finish worse than third which he did and I managed to maintain third overall.

“It’s good to finish on the podium here,” he said. “A real step in the right direction, confidence building, one of a whole lot of things that put the puzzle together.”

Australian Sailing Squad member Ashley Stoddart competed in her first ever medal race in the Laser Radial class, heading into the final race in seventh overall.

The young sailor was certainly not overawed by the situation and sailed exceptionally well to cross the line second overall in the highly competitive final.

Squad member Ryan Palk contested the Laser class medal race alongside Tom Slingsby, with the Queenslander entering the race in seventh overall. Unfortunately Palk broke the start and was excluded from the final results, finishing the regatta 10th overall.

Matt Bugg finished the regatta fourth in the 2.4mR class, following a sixth place finish in the final race.

The Australian Sailing Team now heads to Weymouth, England, for the sixth round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup, beginning on June 5.

Australian Sailing Team
Delta Lloyd Regatta